Student Opportunity Act Signed Into Law
We Won. Now We Keep Fighting.
We won! The Student Opportunity Act, signed into law on November 26, is a tremendous victory for students and our communities.
When we started this fight, we were told that we were asking for too much. The corporate lobby said that stripping away democratic control of public schools with privatization schemes would be the price we would have to pay for the funding we deserve.
But when we fight, we win. And we won big. Students, families, educators, and communities across Massachusetts will see $1.5 billion above inflation in new annual funding for public education, phased in over the next seven years.
This money will primarily go to communities where low-income students and students of color have been deprived of equitably funded public schools for decades.
From the schoolyard to town halls, on Boston Common and at the State House, we said it was time to “fund our future now!” We testified before lawmakers, sharing the deep impact the public education funding crisis had on us, our families, and our communities. Lawmakers heard our message and ultimately agreed.
But this fight is not over.
While the Student Opportunity Act is now law, legislators have taken no action to address the problem of underfunding at our public colleges and universities through the Cherish Act. We also must organize in our local communities to make sure that administrators and local officials spend these funds on real student needs and to prevent state education officials from burdening school districts with mandates that take time away from teaching and learning.
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Projected Education Funding Increases
The Student Opportunity Act addresses all four shortcomings identified in 2015 by the nonpartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission. It increases funding for educating English learners, students with special needs and low-income students, and to offset the high cost of health insurance for staff and retirees.
This map shows projected increases in Chapter 70 school aid for the state’s operating school districts. The first number reflects how much more Chapter 70 aid the district is projected to receive in FY21 (which runs from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021) than in the current fiscal year. The second number, for fiscal year 2027, reflects how much more the district is projected to receive in FY27 than in the current fiscal year. The projections are based on assumptions that may or may not be borne out over time, particularly after seven years; therefore, the numbers should be used to give local residents a sense of the kind of increases this bill may generate and should not be taken as guarantees.
In addition to increasing Chapter 70 funds, the Student Opportunity Act provides new money for charter school reimbursements, the circuit breaker program for expensive (and primarily out-of-district) special education placements and a new $10 million trust fund. It is not possible to accurately project district funding under the non-Chapter 70 sections of the bill over time. When the governor releases his budget proposal for FY21 in January, districts will have more detailed information about how much they may receive in that year in all accounts affected by the new law. We will update our data as new information becomes available.
Please download this data file if your community or school district does not come up on the map, or if you would like to see a complete list of district funding for the years covered.